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The relationship and interplay between male and female is viewed as nothing less than that between heaven represented by the husband and earth symbolised by the wife. Marriage is the central institution of family life and society, and therefore the central institution of Islam. Within the marriage contract itself, the bride has the right to stipulate her own conditions. In contrast to the Western and Orient world where divorce was relatively uncommon until modern times, divorce was a more common occurrence in certain parts of the late medieval Muslim world.

In the Mamluk Sultanate and Ottoman Empire , the rate of divorce was high. Marriage customs vary in Muslim dominated countries. Islamic law allows polygamy where a Muslim man can be married to four wives at the same time, under restricted conditions, [] but it is not widespread.

A marriage of pleasure, where a man pays a sum of money to a woman or her family in exchange for a temporary spousal relationship, is found and considered legal among Shia sect of Islam, for example in Iran after Temporary marriages are forbidden among Sunni sect of Islam. Women's rights groups have condemned it as a form of legalized prostitution. Polyandry, the practice of a woman having more than one husband even temporarily, after payment of a sum of money to the man or the man's family , by contrast, is not permitted.

Despite this, endogamy is common in some Muslim-majority countries. The observed endogamy is primarily consanguineous marriages, where the bride and the groom share a biological grandparent or other near ancestor. Do not marry women your fathers married to except that has passed; Indeed it was lewdness, disobedience and bad way. Prohibited to you are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your paternal aunts, your maternal aunts, brother's daughters, sister's daughters, your suckling-mothers, your sisters from suckling, mothers of your women, your stepdaughters in your guardianship from your women you have entered into them but if you have not entered into them then there is no blame on you, women of your sons from your loins and that you add two sisters in a wedlock except that has passed; surely God is All-forgiving and all-merciful.

Some marriages are forbidden between Muslim women and Muslim men, according to sharia. Child marriage, which was once a globally accepted phenomenon, has come to be discouraged in most countries, but it persists to some extent in some select parts of the Muslim world. The age of marriage in Islam for women varies with country.

Traditionally, Islam has permitted marriage of girls below the age of 10, because Sharia considers practices of Muhammad as a basis for Islamic law. According to Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim , the two Sunni hadiths , Muhammed married Aisha , his third wife when she was 6, and consummated the marriage when she reached the age of 9 or This version of events is rejected by Shia Muslims.

Narrated 'Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years i. Some Islamic scholars suggest that it is not the calendar age that matters, rather it is the biological age of the girl that determines when she can be married under Islamic law. According to these Islamic scholars, marriageable age in Islam is when a girl has reached sexual maturity , as determined by her nearest male guardian; this age can be, claim these Islamic scholars, less than 10 years, or 12, or another age depending on each girl.

Some clerics and conservative elements of Muslim communities in Yemen, [] [] Saudi Arabia, [] India, [] [] Bangladesh, Pakistan, [] Indonesia, [] Egypt, [] Nigeria [] and elsewhere have insisted that it is their Islamic right to marry girls below age The majority of Muslim scholars have historically read Surah 60, verse 10, which forbids female converts from returning to their non-Muslim husbands, as an injunction against any Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men. Additionally, the Qur'anic verse in question mentions unbelievers, but not people of the Jewish or Christian faiths, whom the Qur'an does identify as suitable partners for Muslim men.

The Qur'an thus does not give any general guidance on whether Muslim women may marry "non-Muslim" men, but rather "discusses specific categories of potential spouses. Do not marry the polytheist women, unless they come to believe in Islam ; a Muslim slave-girl is better than a polytheist woman, even though she may attract you;and do not give your women in marriage to polytheist men,unless they come to believe; a Muslim slave is better than a polytheist, even though he may attract you.

They invite to the Fire when Allah invites, by His will, to Paradise, and to forgiveness. He makes His verses clear to the people, so that they may heed the advice. Islamic law and practice recognize gender disparity, in part, by assigning separate rights and obligations to a woman in married life.

Excerpts from Theodore Friend's Woman, Man, and God in Modern Islam - EerdWord

A woman's space is in the private sphere of the home, and a man's is in the public sphere. The equity of this system lies in the fact that God both favoured the man with the necessary qualities and skills for the 'guardianship' and also charged him with the duty to provide for the structure's upkeep. The Quran considers the love between men and women to be a Sign of God. In Islam, there is no coverture , an idea central in European, American as well as in non-Islamic Asian common law, and the legal basis for the principle of marital property.

An Islamic marriage is a contract between a man and a woman. A Muslim man and woman do not merge their legal identity upon marriage, and do not have rights over any shared marital property. The assets of the man before the marriage, and earned by him after the marriage, remain his during marriage and in case of a divorce. Rather, each spouse walks away from the marriage with his or her individual property.

Divorcing Muslim women who did not work outside their home after marriage do not have a claim on the collective wealth of the couple under Islamic law, except for deferred mahr — an amount of money or property the man agrees to pay her before the woman signs the marriage contract. And for you is half of what your wives leave if they have no child. But if they have a child, for you is one fourth of what they leave, after any bequest they [may have] made or debt.

And for the wives is one fourth if you leave no child. But if you leave a child, then for them is an eighth of what you leave, after any bequest you [may have] made or debt. And if a man or woman leaves neither ascendants nor descendants but has a brother or a sister, then for each one of them is a sixth.

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But if they are more than two, they share a third, after any bequest which was made or debt, as long as there is no detriment [caused]. In case of husband's death, a portion of his property is inherited by his wives according to a combination of sharia laws.


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If the man did not leave any children, his wives receive a quarter of the property and the remaining three quarters is shared by the blood relatives of the husband for example, parents, siblings. A woman's deferred mahr and the dead husband's outstanding debts are paid before any inheritance is applied. Female sexual satisfaction is given significant prominence in the Islamic faith and its classical literature.

As recorded by the British Muslim writer Ruqayyah Waris Maqsood in her book The Muslim Marriage Guide : "the early Muslims regarded sexual prowess and the ability to satisfy a woman as being an essential part of manhood. On their wedding night he made love to her no fewer than seven times, so that when morning came, she told him: 'You are a perfect Muslim in every way, even in this!

Women and Islam

In this context, the Muslim caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab believed that a married woman had the right to sex at least once every four days, while according to the hadith scholar, jurist and mystic Abu Talib al-Makki d. Islamic luminaries expanded on this theme. If he arouses her desire, and then sits back from her, this will hurt her, and any disparity in their orgasms will certainly produce a sense of estrangement. A simultaneous orgasm will be the most delightful for her, especially since her husband will be distracted by his own orgasm from her, and she will not therefore be afflicted by shyness.

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There is disagreement among Islamic scholars on proper interpretation of Islamic law on permissible sex between a husband and wife, with claims that non-vaginal sex within a marriage is disapproved but not forbidden. After sex, as well as menstruation, Islam requires men and women to do ghusl major ritual washing with water, ablutions , and in some Islamic communities xoslay prayers seeking forgiveness and purification , as sex and menstruation are considered some of the causes that makes men and women religiously impure najis.

Sexual intercourse is not allowed to a Muslim woman during menstruation , postpartum period , during fasting and certain religious activities, disability and in iddah after divorce or widowhood.

Homosexual relations and same sex marriages are forbidden to women in Islam. Religious qadis judges have admonished the man or women who fail to meet these duties. A high value is placed on female chastity and exhibitionism is prohibited.

There is no mention of female circumcision — let alone other forms of female genital mutilation — in the Qur'an. In answering the question of how "Islamic" female circumcision is, Haifaa A. Jawad — an academic specialising in Islamic thought and the author of The Rights of Women in Islam: An Authentic Approach — has concluded that "the practice has no Islamic foundation whatsoever.


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  • It is nothing more than an ancient custom which has been falsely assimilated to the Islamic tradition, and with the passage of time it has been presented and accepted in some Muslim countries as an Islamic injunction. Forcibly split, torn, and severed tissues are neither conducive to sensuality nor to the blessed feeling given and shared when participating in the quest for pleasure and the escape from pain. The Egyptian feminist Nawal El-Saadawi reasons that the creation of the clitoris per se is a direct Islamic argument against female circumcision: "If religion comes from God, how can it order man to cut off an organ created by Him as long as that organ is not diseased or deformed?

    God does not create the organs of the body haphazardly without a plan. It is not possible that He should have created the clitoris in woman's body only in order that it be cut off at an early stage in life. This is a contradiction into which neither true religion nor the Creator could possibly fall. If God has created the clitoris as a sexually sensitive organ, whose sole function seems to be the procurement of sexual pleasure for women, it follows that He also considers such pleasure for women as normal and legitimate, and therefore as an integral part of mental health.

    Mahmud Shaltut , the former Sheikh of Al-Azhar in Cairo — one of the most important religious offices in Sunni Islam — also stated that female circumcision has no theological basis: "Islamic legislation provides a general principle, namely that should meticulous and careful examination of certain issues prove that it is definitely harmful or immoral, then it should be legitimately stopped to put an end to this damage or immorality. Therefore, since the harm of excision has been established, excision of the clitoris of females is not a mandatory obligation, nor is it a Sunnah. In the twenty-first century, a number of high-ranking religious offices within the OIC have urged the cessation of all forms of FGM:.

    From very early times various methods of contraception have been practiced in Islam, [] and Muslim jurists of the two major sects of Islam, Sunni and Shia, generally agree that contraception and family planning are not forbidden by Sharia; the use of contraceptive devices is permitted if the marital partners agree. Given the era and the fact that both Christian and Jewish tradition outlawed contraception, the attitude of Muslims towards birth control has been characterised as being remarkably pragmatic; they also possessed a sophisticated knowledge of possible birth control methods.

    Islam condemns female infanticide. In some Islamic populations, sex-selective female infanticide is of concern because of abnormally high boy to girl ratios at birth. After the collapse, the birth sex ratios in Azerbaijan has sharply climbed to over and remained high for the last 20 years. In Islam, a woman may only divorce her husband under certain conditions.

    Woman, Man, and God in Modern Islam – By Theodore Friend

    These are many and include neglect, not being supported financially, the husband's impotence, apostasy, madness, dangerous illness or some other defect in the marriage. A tafriq is a divorce for certain allowable reasons. This divorce is granted by a qadi , a religious judge, in cases where the qadi accepts her claims of abuse or abandonment. If a tafriq is denied by the qadi , she cannot divorce.

    If a tafriq is granted, the marriage is dissolved and the husband is obligated to pay her the deferred mahr in their marriage contract. The second method, by far more common in wife-initiated divorces, khul is a divorce without cause, by mutual consent.